1) Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left over from churning butter from cream. Today, this is called traditional buttermilk.
2) Buttermilk also refers to cultured buttermilk, a product where lactic acid bacteria have been added to milk.
Whether traditional or cultured, the tartness of buttermilk is due to the presence of acid in the milk.
In the early 1900's, cultured buttermilk was labelled artificial buttermilk to differentiate it from traditional buttermilk, the latter also being known as natural or ordinary buttermilk.
Make butter & buttermilk from double cream
You can make about 230 ml of buttermilk and 250 g of butter from about 700 ml of double cream heavy cream.
If you are looking to make buttermilk for a bread recipe, this will not only get you the buttermilk but also some home-made butter to spread on it.
All you need is an electric hand whisk and a bowl. The recipe is here.
- For recipes, a substitute for buttermilk can be made by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar or 1.75 teaspoons cream of tartar to each cup of regular milk. The soured milk should be allowed to sit for ten minutes before being used.
- Another combination that would produce a thick buttermilk substitute is to mix equal parts full-fat milk and thick Greek natural yogurt such as Total.
- A low-fat substitute equivalent can be made by mixing equal parts of skim/skimmed milk and low-fat yogurt.
- Use the whey from home-made cheese such as home made cottage cheese (which is basically the same end product as step 1).